Stay tuned – much more is coming up, including the Top 10 Songs playlists for March; A Guide to the Best of Record Store Day; Best New Album Releases of 2015 (from signed bands); 5 DIY Album Debuts You’ve Gotta Hear; 5 DIY Bands to Watch, and a new volume of 5 Bands That Rock. You might also want to check out recent installments of other popular features like Artist of the Week and the six-part series, Top DIY Songs & Albums of 2014.
In This Issue:
Pet Politics – Gothenburg, Sweden
Bud Collins Trio – Mansfield Center, Connecticut
Lascaux – Rouen, France
Babbling April – Dayton, Ohio
Hard Soul – Albany, New York
Forensics – London, England
Stella Got – Israel
Drew Gibson – Washington, D.C.
Virgin Mary Pistol Grips – Omaha, Nebraska
HAPPY good – Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Elad Eyni – Rishon Lezion, Israel
Atrium of The Fall – Topanga, California
Fringes – Ormond Beach, Florida
Russell Joslin – London, England
Dan Zdilla – Lanchester, Pennsylvania
Doug Balmain – Laramie, Wyoming
No Body – Olympia, Washington
Pet Politics is the former one man band of Gothenburg, Sweden musician Magnus Larsson, active from 2005 through 2008. Drawing from his top musical influences like Sonic Youth, Pavement, Flaming Lips and Silver Jews, Larsson captured our ears with his incredibly melodic and jangly guitar riffs, measured drum beats and bass lines , and his slightly out-of-tune vocals and double-dubbed choruses on standout tracks like “The Ghost Mary and Her Friends” and “Taken Away By Aliens,” off of Pet Politics compilation album, simply titled 2005-2008, released in February.
“The Ghost Mary and Her Friends“ – Pet Politics from 2005-2008
“Taken Away by Aliens“ – Pet Politics from 2005-2008
The Bud Collins Trio’s DIY Drop, JimTom
Located in Mansfield Center, Connecticut, the Bud Collins Trio first came together in 1987, and not long after were featured in the popular MTV show Basement Tapes. That of course opened up doors for the DIY band as they toured extensively throughout the 1990s, opening for artists like Bob Mould, Maceo Parker, and Blues Traveler. In 2009, the band reformed after a decade hiatus. The band’s sounds showcase a mixture of various styles and genres swirling and crashing and blending, including melodic pop, tropical, jazz and psych rock. Song themes range from pop culture to love. In February, BCT released a new album, JimTom, the terrifically entertaining, mesmerizing and unforgettable musical journey, and the follow-up to the November release of Jimmy Tom. Stream more songs on the BCT Soundcloud page. It’s no surprise that the band members are fans of artists like XTC, Flaming Lips, Brian Wilson, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan and Elvis Costello.
– Bud Collins Trio from JimTom
“Captain Rainbow“ – Bud Collins Trio
Lascaux – Losing Sleep
Lascaux is an unsigned indie power pop/rock quartet from Rouen, France that booted up in 2011 when a group of musician friends decided to take their shot at writing and recording their own songs. As big fans of 1980’s pop and rock, Lascaux forges a large sound with deep percussions from Grégoire Mainot , jangling guitars from Victor Moignard, twinkling keys from Martin Lefebvre and splendid vocals by front man Clément Durand. The band members recorded their debut album, Losing Sleep, at the U.K.’s prestigious Chapel Studio. The result is eight tracks of catchy, hook-filled pop. Lascaux won a musical contest in France that placed them as the opening band for alternative rock giants Dinosaur Jr. and Texas. Their debut album, Losing Sleep was released on February 16th. The band’s most influential artists include The Sound, Depeche Mode, Kasabian, and The Strokes.
– Lascaux from Losing Sleep
“Vice Hotel“ – Lascaux from Losing Sleep
Babbling April – Babbling April EP
Starting out as a one-man band project of Dayton, Ohio bassist Dave New last year, Babbling April was joined by drummer Stephen Yokley, and for live shows, Lee Wise and Vivi Machi on vocals, guitar, bass and keyboards. Machi’s warm and sweet vocals, layered shoegaze-like guitars and keys, along with New’s bass thumping and Yokley’s forceful drumming on the single, “Sunny Day Records,” are phenomenal for a lo-fi track. A great producer could take that single, and the riff-heavy, punk/new wave track, “Girl I’ma Babe,” and really make them even better. The band dropped their self-titled debut EP DIY-style on February 13th.
Babbling April was featured on Noisetrade‘s ‘New and Notable Artists’ page. They’ve opened for artists like Bailiff, The Receiver, Narrow/Arrow, New Vega, and Blond, and their musical influences include Yo La Tengo, Built To Spill, White Denim, and Broken Social Scene. “Indie rock,” New said, “is the new folk music – people making music they love by the means they have available and sharing it with their friends and communities.”
“Sunny Day Records“ – Babbling April from Babbling April EP
“Girl Ima Babe“ – Babbling April from Babbling April EP
Hard Soul – Fairer Shores
Hard Soul is a DIY rock and power pop band from Albany, New York band who’ve dropped a new release every year since their formation in 2011. The band has performed in venues throughout the northeast and built a small, but loyal, following. Hard Soul’s new Kickstarter-funded EP, Fairer Shores, dropped on February 24th, features standout tracks like “The Sweetest Heart” and the title track. The band has opened for Brick and Mortar and The Zombies, and draw from musical influences like Oasis, Thin Lizzy and The Beatles. The band members are Johnny Salka on vocals and lead guitar; Nick Kossor and Steve ‘The Dome’ Thompson on guitar; Ryan Klaeysen on bass; Mark Podbielski on drums.
“The Sweetest Heart“ – Hard Soul from Fairer Shores
“Fairer Shores“ – Hard Soul from Fairer Shores
Forensics – Charlotte’s Web
Forensics is a DIY London quartet that favors reverb-heavy and angling guitars as is evident on the band’s latest single, Charlotte’s Web. The band is releasing a series of singles throughout the year.
“Charlottes Web“ – Forensics from Charlotte’s Web
Stella Got – Wounded Ladies
Israeli artist Stella Got released her solo debut LP, Wounded Ladies, featuring the urgent, meddling and grey song, “Like A Rope.” Got has opened for artists like Gary Numan and Rockfour, and is also a member of the band Bill & Murray.
“Like A Rope“ – Stella Got from Wounded Ladies
Drew Gibson – 1532
From his base in Washington, D.C., musician Drew Gibson has spent the last 20 years recording and releasing indie rock and acoustic folk music DIY-style. Gibson’s latest album, 1532, features heartfelt indie folk rock tracks like “Bettie-Jane” and the driving beats and steel guitar licks of “Hallow Flood of Wounds.”
– Drew Gibson from 1532
“Hallow Flood of Wounds“ – Drew Gibson from 1532
Releases from DIY Artists Virgin Mary Pistol Grip, Elad Eyni, and HAPPY good
Virgin Mary Pistol Grip is a rock band from Omaha whose recent self-released, self-titled album spawned their first single, “Whiskey Flats,” which has been spun on radio stations throughout the Midwest. HAPPY good is David Speakman, a Lancaster, Pennsylvania based artist who loves tomatoes, black-capped Chickadees and many things unconventional. His musical influences include Junip, Telekinesis, Lupen Crook, and Tom Waits. The electro-sludge, as he calls it, is apparent on the single, “Electric Cigarette.” Other releases include Elad Eyni, a one-man alt. rock band from Israel with a track, “Catch The Sun,” from his Feb. 15th debut EP, Memories From The Kingdom Garden.
“Whiskey Flats“ – Virgin Mary Pistol Grip from Virgin Mary Pistol Grip – Feb. 3rd
– Elad Eyni from Memories From The Kingdom Garden – Feb. 15th
“Electric Cigarette“ – HAPPY good from single – Feb. 12th
Atrium of The Fall – Machines and Matriarchs
Topanga, California’s Tool-inspired DIY alt. rock band, Atrium of The Fall (all ex-music business professionals) chime in with the singles, “The Chancellor” and “El Dorado” from the debut LP, Machines and Matriarchs.
“The Chancellor“ – Atrium of The Fall from Machines and Matriarchs
“El Dorado“ – Atrium of The Fall from Machines and Matriarchs
Dan Zdilla – Behold and Lo
The mellow waviness of pop mixed with country embellishments like watching tumbleweeds dance in the sunlight is how we think of the advanced singles, “It’s Alright” and “As It Begins” from the debut solo album from Lancaster, Pennsylvania musician, songwriter and vocalist Dan Zdilla. He makes no bones about the fact that he’s a “sucker for a good melody.” Over the past few years, Zdilla has performed in and around his home city. On April 21, he will release his debut solo album, Behold and Lo. He is performing the songs from the album with help from drummer Paul Murr; keyboardist Matt Thomas; bassist Mike Bitts, and guitarist Chad Kinsey, the same folks that Zdilla recorded the album with.
“Behold and Lo nods to pop-rock of years past; while still sounding relevant to our generation of music-heads,” he says, “it’s inspired by melodic greats like The Beatles and The Kinks as well as more soulful artists like Paul Simon and Van Morrison.” Other influential artists and bands that inform his musical palate include Jimmy Cliff, RX Bandits, Cheers Elephant and Elvis Costello.
“Its Alright“ – Dan Zdilla from Behold and Lo
“As It Begins“ – Dan Zdilla from Behold and Lo
Fringes – Antoonos EP
In 2012, four high school buddies from Ormond Beach, Florida got together and formed the alternative rock band Fringes. In February, the band dropped their energetic and edgy alt rock debut EP, Antoonos. In 2014, Fringes performed at nearly a dozen festivals and venues throughout central Florida, winning first place at the Granada Grand Festival‘s battle of the bands event. Two singles from their debut EP, “My Friends From New York” and “Here” demonstrate the band’s out-of-the-gate talents and prospects. Band members include guitarist and vocalist Max Haberman; drummer Gio Barreto; bassist Travis Hanson and lead guitarist Greyson Rayos. “Indie rock,” Hanson writes, “is about experimentation of instrument techniques, song structures, digital mastering, and musical freedom.” Fringes’ musical influences include Nirvana, The Black Keys, The Orwells, Alice in Chains, Led Zeppelin, and The Strokes.
– Fringes from Antoonos – Feb. 15th
– Fringes from Antoonos
Russell Joslin – Harlequins
Based in London, singer/songwriter Russell Joslin is, according to the BBC, “living proof of how fresh, vigorous and abrasive an acoustic songwriter can and should be in the 21st century.” Born and raised in the countryside of Wiltshire, he moved to London as a young adult to pursue his music career and was quickly noticed in the competitive music scene and booked to tour with artists like The Early Years, Scouting for Girls and Dot Allison.
In 2009, he released his solo album, Dream Token, that received wide praise from the press and bloggers – “an album of eloquent beauty” wrote ThisisfakeDIY and “a much needed gust of fresh air into the British folk scene” added Subba-Cultcha. That was followed up with his sophomore album in 2011. In February, after a two-year hiatus performing with the band High Windows, Russell dropped his third solo album, Harlequins, featuring songs like “What A Waste” and the Nick Drake-like, “Pittsburgh It Is.” His musical influences include Nick Cave, Death Grips, Two Gallants, and Bob Dylan.
“What a Waste“ – Russell Joslin from Harlequins
“Pittsburgh It Is“ – Russell Joslin from Harlequins
Doug Balmain – Burnin’ Both Ends
From Laramie, Wyoming, solo rock musician Doug Balmain self-released his latest album, Burnin’ Both Ends, on March 3rd. As a fan of bands like The Stone Foxes, Oasis and Ryan Adams, the diversification of his tastes are evident on funky songs like “Bad Habits” and the title track.
– Doug Balmain from Burnin’ Both Ends
– Doug Balmain from Burnin’ Both Ends
No Body – Deep Ocean Empty Wave
Formed in 2013, Olympia, Washington, the DIY band No Body knocks out grungy experimental rock on their new album, Deep Ocean Empty Wave. The band members are Issac Scott, Kevin Loughlin, and Josh Wolf. Their musical influences include Colleen Green, Women, METZ, Deerhunter, and Ava Luna.
“Always Moving Never Reaches“ – No Body from Deep Ocean Empty Wave – March 7th
“Deep Ocean Empty Wavve“ – No Body from Deep Ocean Empty Wave